Food bank use continues to rise, finds Trussell Trust
Food bank demand continues to rise in the UK, according to new figures from the Trussell Trust.
New figures show that between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018 the foodbank network distributed 1,332,952 three day emergency food supplies to people in crisis, up 13 per cent on the previous year.
The statistics show that demand for emergency food supplies rose even faster last year than in the 12 months before, when the Trust recorded a six per cent increase in demand.
With 484,026 of the three day supplies going to children, the Trust called for an urgent review of welfare levels to ensure payments keep pace with changes to the cost of living.
‘Low income’ was cited as the reason for 28 per cent of referrals, up by two per cent on the previous year.
The rollout of Universal Credit was also highlighted as a major factor in rising demand, with benefit delays cited in 24 per cent of cases and benefit changes in 18 per cent.
The Trust said that although referrals due to ‘benefit sanction’ have declined over the last year, those due to ‘reduction in benefit value’ have the fastest growth rate of all referrals made due to a benefit change.
Meanwhile projects experienced an average 52 per cent in demand in the twelve months after the full rollout of Universal Credit in their area.
Emma Revie, chief executive of the Trussell Trust, said: “As a nation we expect no one should be left hungry or destitute – illness, disability, family breakdown or the loss of a job could happen to any of us, and we owe it to each other to make sure sufficient financial support is in place when we need it most.
“It’s hard to break free from hunger if there isn’t enough money coming in to cover the rising cost of absolute essentials like food and housing. For too many people staying above water is a daily struggle. It’s completely unacceptable that anyone is forced to turn to a foodbank as a result.
“Universal Credit is the future of our benefits system. It’s vital we get it right, and ensure levels of payment keep pace with the rising cost of essentials, particularly for groups of people we know are already more likely to need a foodbank – disabled people, people dealing with an illness, families with children and single parents.”